How to improve your email open rates

Newsletters play an important role in keeping subscribers informed and engaged. 

Email marketing remains a strong marketing tool for businesses to connect with their customers directly, and is also an important lead generator. 

However, because it’s such a valuable tactic, the downside is that inboxes can be crowded and many customers won’t see your message. 

Measuring the percentage of email open rates is one of the key indicators of how successful your email campaign is. This figure varies across different industries but a good open rate to aim for is 20%.  

It’s important to note that the impact of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) opt-in, launched in 2021, has affected open rates as it automatically marks those users’ emails as opened, regardless of whether the user did or not. These are considered ‘false’ opens which some email marketing platforms – such as ours at ActiveCampaign – can recognise and filter out. 

With this in mind, here are some of our top tips.

Segmentation and automation

Consider segmenting your email list with marketing automation so that emails reach the right people at the right time – whether that’s for re-engagement, abandoned carts or event notifications. 

No expertly crafted subject line or creative content will improve or rescue your email open rate if it’s sent to an unengaged email list. 

Compelling (not spammy) subject lines

How do you write a subject line that’s too good to ignore? Try not to include every detail about your email content. 

Make it compelling to stop someone scrolling past – emojis or single words work well as they translate well to mobile screen sizing limitations. A single word can also intrigue a reader to find out more.  

Creative content with templates for brand awareness 

Consider your brand and the tone of your messaging through creative content theming. 

By utilising templates, you can create interest in your products/service and encourage engagement time and time again. These can also continue the image you are trying to portray – after all, your brand is unique, so your emails should be too.  

Track, test and repeat campaigns 

Test to see what works for your unique audience through tracking campaigns – that way you can repeat what works in the future. Consider analysing whether emails sent at a certain time or day of the week are more or less effective. 

According to research conducted by Campaign Monitor, the highest email open rates occur on Monday with the highest click-to-open rates midweek. 

Unsurprisingly, email open rates at weekends are much lower, however you should consider testing all days and times based on your customers. This is one way to turn new customers into repeat customers.

Desired results 

The end goal of email newsletters is to willingly encourage recipients to your site and retain their interest in your product or service. Employing these methods can greatly increase your chance of success and affect your email deliverability from inbox providers. 

By increasing the quality and effectiveness of your messaging, you ensure your emails don’t find themselves in spam folders, further reducing your open rate. 

Finally, make sure you include an option to unsubscribe and make it as easy as possible. This might sound counterintuitive when we’re talking about improving open rates, but if it’s hard for someone to unsubscribe, they might mark your email as spam and this can hurt your deliverability to others who want to be on your list!